If one were to build a time machine and travel back fifty years or so and walk into F. Cooke you’d find that you had wasted you time. Not in visiting Cooke’s but in building the machine. While I can’t be one hundred percent certain I’m sure the one thing that has changed at this venerable off the beaten path establishment are the people working behind the counter. But like I said I can’t be entirely certain.
Upon entering the place one is drawn in with the simplicity of the place. A single room with a counter to the right. With sixteen or so tables filling the room on one's left. Then what strikes one is the seeming luxury on the place the tables and walls are all made of elegant gray marble. Not too shabby for a place where you order at the counter and bus your own table. But this is the way Cooke's has always been. The same can be said for the menu.
There are two choices here. Three if one counts the eel's (I am not one of these people). The choices are take it or leave it. It you 'take it' you get pie and mash. This is all they do. A tasty meat pie in a suet pastry with steaming mashed potatoes. This is all covered with a tasty green (yes green) parsley sauce. The recipe of which is reputed to be a well kept family secret. This traditional pie and mash was a hearty meal great for those damp chilly English winter's. A little heavy though for a hot July afternoon. But as I had already started what better way to end things...than with a another pie. This one a summer berry version with two generous scoops of vanilla ice cream.
F. Cooke is a throw back and a welcome one at that. London is a exciting and growing city and much of the 'happenings' have overtaken the East End an area rich in history and a culture unique unto itself. The land of the Cockney. No too far back places like this where simply part of the landscape. F.Cooke literately gives one a taste for this disappearing side of London. Upon leaving one can't help but wonder what once was and be thankful for what still is.
F. Cooke: 150 Hoxton St. N1 6SH (7729 7718)- Old Street or Liverpool Street tube.
(Additional location 9 Broadway Market E8 4PH (7254 6458))